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What is Taiyaki? Japanese Snacks Explained

30 August 2018 by Marie

Japanese sweet deserts are just as popular worldwide as Japanese snacks and Japanese candy are! But here at TokyoTreat we often get questions about specific Japanese treats and what they are exactly! So we've decided to explain the most popular and well loved snacks here in Japan so everyone can enjoy them! Today we're going to be talking about taiyaki, so what exactly is taiyaki?

Taiyaki is a Japanese fish shaped cake, the tai of taiyaki 鯛 (though normally written as たい) means the red seabream fish the cake takes its shape from, and 焼き means baked. Despite many sources describing it as a cake, we would say its most comparable to a waffle.

The traditional filling for taiyaki is sweet read bean past also known as anko, and even today it's still the most popular filling, but you can also find shops selling taiyaki with custard, matcha cream and chocolate fillings! Lately theres even been shops selling taiyaki with savory fillings like cheese!

How are they made? The batter taiyaki starts out as is just your typical pancake or waffle batter. This is then placed inside a hot fish shaped mold much like a waffle plate, each side poured separately and filling placed on one side. Before the batter is cooked through the mold is closed and both sides of the taiyaki stuck together, it is then cooked until golden brown.

Another fairly common filling for taiyaki is ice cream, much like waffle ice creams from other countries you can get these frozen taiyaki from many stores or supermarkets! Something more recent though is the adaptation of the traditional taiyaki to make them into an ice cream cone shape and then filled with soft serve ice cream and other goodies! These soft serve taiyaki shops have been popping up all over the globe recently due to their cute shape and deliciousness factor!

Nowadays you can even get Pokemon taiyaki!!! Famous Japanese taiyaki store Kurikoan sells Magikarp shaped taiyaki at their Akihabara location in Tokyo!!

And that's everything you need to know about taiyaki! If you want to learn more about Japanese snacks or Japanese candy, you can read our blog post on traditonal Japanese sweets called wagashi or about 10 different types of mochi!

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What do you think about taiyaki? Have you tried it? What's your favourite filling? Let us know in the comments!

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